FEDERAL: Grassroots Group Declares Victory as FIRST STEP ACT Heads to President Trump’s Desk
Columbia – Today, Americans for Prosperity- South Carolina (AFP-SC) celebrated the passage of the FIRST STEP Act, a package of critical criminal justice reforms.
AFP-SC also praised Senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott for their support for commonsense criminal justice reforms.
The FIRST STEP Act makes important reforms to the federal criminal justice system by focusing on rehabilitating federally incarcerated people and giving them the tools needed to successfully reenter society upon release from prison.
The grassroots group also announced a direct mail and digital campaign touting Senator Graham and Scott's leadership role as co-sponsors in ensuring this groundbreaking legislation was passed before the end of the year.
AFP-SC state director Andrew Yates issued the following statement:
“AFP-SC has long supported passage of the FIRST STEP Act because it will make our communities stronger and safer by reducing crime and recidivism rates. This bipartisan legislation accomplishes much in reforming our broken criminal justice system. AFP-SC believes that criminal justice reform should be smart-on-crime, but soft-on-taxpayers and the FIRST STEP Act accomplishes that goal. These reforms will certainly serve as a wonderful gift to the many families who are unable to travel to visit their loved ones, and this gift will also help many incarcerated persons get a second chance upon their release.”
The FIRST STEP Act requires the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to place inmates no more than 500 driving miles from home, helping spouses, parents, and children more practically visit their family members behind bars and making it easier for inmates to reintegrate into society upon release.
Fixes a mistake in federal law to ensure that all well-behaved prisoners not serving life sentences can accrue 54 days of “good time credit” off their sentences per year, instead of the 47 per year that 178,000 inmates currently receive.
Directs the BOP to let low-risk low-needs inmates serve home confinement for up to 6 months of the end of their sentences.
Retroactively applies the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, which reduced the crack-cocaine sentencing disparity from 100:1 to 18:1, to current inmates sentenced before 2010.
Expands eligibility for the federal “safety valve” (18 U.S.C. § 3553(f)) to keep more low-level drug offenders from incurring mandatory minimums meant for high-level drug traffickers, creating more proportional punishments.